Signaling, The Lesser-known Survival Skill

Discussion in 'Safety' started by sunnytn, Feb 2, 2017.

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  1. sunnytn

    sunnytn Well-Known Member

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    It is of vital importance that before you start on an adventure in unknown territory, that you let someone know your plans. This one act can save your life or help if you get lost or injured. There are of course, unexpected situations where this isn't possible. You may be lost or stranded where no one knows where you are. This is where signaling comes in. Signaling is a distress call/signal for help. A universal abbreviation is SOS. Remember 3, pause, 3..this is a code for SOS. Example: three shot gun blasts, pause, three more shot blasts and a continuation of this pattern. This pattern can be used audibly and visually. Much of signaling involves visual methods. This is because, hopefully, rescuers are "looking"for you. There are no rules to how you signal. You are trying to be found. You have to use what is available to you and your creativity. When injury or danger is evident, then time becomes a factor. So as soon as you realize you are in trouble began signaling for help. A general rule is to stay close to where you are at. Of course an exception to this rule is getting away from danger or highly unfavorable locations. Wooded areas are good for finding shelter and protection, but they are not for signaling. For signaling, look for large wide-open areas. It is almost impossible to be seen in wooded territory. Probably the most common visual skill is the use of fire/smoke. Fire/smoke can also be smelled for several miles. Contrast of the smoke against the sky is important. On sunny days, black smoke is seen best. To make smoke black use green wood, motor oil, or plastic. If it is cloudy, white smoke gives contrast to the gray sky. This involves a clean burning fire. To burn a clean fire, you need dry wood, good ventilation with little ash build up. A mirror, or a very shiny metal object can be used in signaling for help. The ideas is to capture a direct sun ray that will beam a focused light that can be seen. A sighting lens on your mirror can increase the effectiveness of this skill. Practice this until you become proficient. Primitive skills of signaling can work well. Placing rocks to form a big SOS on the ground has saved lives, especially from an aerial view. Other skills include, placing bright objects on the ground or big piles of branches or rocks. You also can use flags, hand-held flares, anything highly visible. Some stranded individuals come up with ingenious ideas of their own. Remember the goal is being rescued, there aren't any specific rules. Audible signaling can include, yelling, car horns, whistling, gun shot blasts. Learning to whistle loudly using your fingers is a survival skill that is very useful. This takes quite a bit of practice, but it is worth the effort. There are high-tech devices used for signaling. A charged cell phone on your person can be a life-saver, literally. The GPS tracking of your phone can lead others to you. There are other GPS devices, personal locator beams, and signal strobe lights available also. I just covered some of the basics on signaling as a survival skill, there is more to be learned. Hopefully, this article gives the reader an overview of the lesser-known skill of survival..signaling.​
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  2. remnant

    remnant Expert Member

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    This is quite prudent and informative. In situations where one is lost in the jungle, one should have a white cloth attached to a long pole for identification. A whistle is also a good thing to have and so is an extra phone battery or powerbank. Under all circumstances have some drinkable water and look for elevated areas.
  3. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist

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    This reminds me of our vacation trip to the islands south of Manila. We were 7 on a small boat for the island hopping when the steering of the boat was broken. The operator tried to improvise but to no avail due to the strong current that created big waves. We didn't know what to do because the cellphones are not working, obviously no signal. Some boats passing in the distance couldn't see us waving for help so we were ignored. My nephew initiated a signaling system by tying several shirts in the oar. Waving the oar with shirts may be more noticeable. And he was right because the next boat that passed got curious and came near. That simple signal saved us.
  4. jeager

    jeager Master Survivalist

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    Here is a true and SAD story of a deer hunter.
    The guy was archery hunting from a tree stand FORTY feet in the air.
    Not at all necessary to be that far up and NO safety harness.
    He fell but landed on his side in the crotch of that tree breaking many ribs.
    It was getting dark and colder.
    They guy didn't tell anyone where he was hunting.
    The hunter knew he'd die in that tree so he managed to wiggle out somehow falling further and when
    he hit the ground he broke his back!
    Several hours past dark the wife became worried and called some of the mans hunter friends.
    ONE knew where he might be.
    A group of hunter friends went looking and the hunter wasn't where they'd hoped.
    The began looking other places and finally found his vehicle then gathered enough people
    for a search party and authorities notified.
    Finally he was located nearly dead of his injuries and exposure to the cold and shock.
    He survived after weeks in the hospital but would never be able to walk very far again.
    At 40 he was permanently disabled.
    No survival plan, no way to make fire, no one knew his location.
    Bad, bad, non idea.
    What does it take to toss a bic lighter or water proof matches in a pocket AND tell someone
    where you will be!
    I might consider a small emergency flare for cryin' out loud.
    I still hunt but several people know where and will come help if I don't return
    I hope!:)

    Most hunter injuries in Ohio are from.....................ready?..............falling from tree stands!
  5. jeager

    jeager Master Survivalist

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    Nuther tree stand story.
    A kid was taught how to hunt safely by dad.
    But kids is kids. This one 15.
    He laid his rifle down, put a cord on it, climbed into the stand with the cord, pulled the
    LOADED gun up and the gun FELL.
    Yup. Fired it did. Shot the kid up the poop shoot.
    I've done the cord on gun thing several times with an UNLOADED firearm.

    I have many hunting accident stories.
    ( cop don'cha' know?)

    I carry a Streamlite flash light when I go hunting just in case.
    Small and bright.
    And a bic and matches.
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